Updated August 2023
Free bookkeeping courses are an excellent way for start-up business owners to learn how to look after their business accounts without dipping into their cash to get educated and become financially literate.
I have found 10 of the best free bookkeeping courses and resources online to help you understand everything involved with tracking income and expenses, reading financial reports and managing business money.
Courses are great if you like a systematic approach to learning new skills rather than searching random bits of information off the internet.
A business owner who is armed with bookkeeping knowledge can start asking their accountant the right questions, get good control of their cash flow and grow their businesses.
A study released in July 2018 by JP Morgan Chase titled Growth, Vitality, and Cash Flows highlights that about half of small businesses in the USA fail after 4 years because of lack of cash - not because the business is bad but because cash flow can be erratic and the business owner is ill-prepared to manage the ups and downs.
Become prepared by starting with these free bookkeeping courses.
Accounting Coach is run by Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) – delving in basic bookkeeping all the way up to managerial accounting. This is more than just a course site - there is tons of information so if you have specific questions you can enter your keywords into the search bar and get free topic results based on those.
Harold's free bookkeeping course online is called Bookkeeping Training which contains 20 modules. Some parts of these modules (mainly videos, flashcards, visual tutorials, cheat sheets, printables and progress tracking) can only be accessed with a PRO account meaning you must register to become a member and pay a one time fee of US$49 or US$99 depending what you want to access.
However, there is plenty of meaty information inside the free parts that will teach you what you need to know about bookkeeping.
If you want a certificate for completing this course you must get the PRO+ membership.
Harold has worked as an accounting instructor in university, as an accountant and as a consultant.
Dave Marshall of Bean Counter offers free accounting and bookkeeping courses, tutorials, quizzes and games.
His main free bookkeeping course is So You Want To Learn Bookkeeping! There is no paid membership area – you get full free access to all materials on his course website. To study offline you can buy his eBooks and CD versions.
Dave’s approach is relaxed and fun (and he also explains what a bean counter is!).
His skills tests are only for personal evaluation, so no certificate is given. However, he does provide a list of sites that can provide you with certification training if that is what you require. He also provides a bookkeeping job search guide.
Dave’s experience includes being a small business consultant, a bookkeeper, an internal auditor, a controller, a US Army payroll clerk and a college teacher.
On this site you will find lots of free written and video training courses for bookkeeping and accountancy by Sam Morton.
His free bookkeeping course is made up of You Tube videos on The Bookkeeping Master channel. There are hundreds of training videos on other topics like Payroll Basics, Management Accounts, Excel Basics, Bank Reconciliations, Credit Control, Profitability, Business Planning, Double Entry Bookkeeping, VAT (sales tax) and courses on software like Sage Accounts, Xero, KashFlow, QuickBooks, and Excel
Sam also provides training and support (at a cost) for:
Sam has been a credit controller and an accountant for several years working with a variety of different businesses.
Learn.Org provides a list of where to find free bookkeeping courses online through groups like:
Open Learn University's free bookkeeping course is titled Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting. This is 8 hours of study at an introductory level. It is in written format and is downloadable.
You will get a free statement of participation on completion of the course.
The course modules are :
This can be used as a gateway to help you decide if you want to take your learning further with University study.
edX has 2 free ACCA bookkeeping courses which you can access by registering your name and email address:
Introduction to Bookkeeping - provides you accounting knowledge to be successful. Learn about:
Intermediate Bookkeeping – will prepare you for an accounting admin or bookkeeping position. This study includes:
You can get a certificate for either course by registering with ACCA who provide these edX courses, and passing a computer-based exam and an interactive module.
Alison provides 100's of free courses. Select from a variety of self-paced finance courses on topics including Professional Bookkeeping and Accounting in which you can learn:
There are also other courses in QuickBooks, Understanding Receivables and Payables and much more.
These are 2-3 hour certificate courses.
Alison is made up of an international team of talented specialists dedicated to Alisons’s free education mission.
Here are 46 free QuickBooks tutorials aimed at small business owners just starting out with the software.
Each lesson provides an in-depth lesson of about 5 minutes and includes a free meeting with a QuckBooks ProAdvisor to help set up your software.
The course includes:
Oxford Home Study Centre offer a free bookkeeping course made up of 21 topics from basic terminology to a trial balance, including:
This is a 20 hour, online course with no entry requirements and is mostly aimed at the unemployed, however employed people can take it too.
Build your skills, knowledge and confidence towards becoming a qualified and capable bookkeeper to build a successful career.
Last not but least is our very own course on using a Cash Book in Excel for your small business bookkeeping using our free Excel Cash Book template.
The course will help you set up the template and provides bookkeeping tips along the way including information on:
Another thing to look out for is if you have invested in any specific bookkeeping software you should be able to access their training videos or webinars for free. These not only show you how to use their software but you will also get an inside understanding of the bookkeeping process.
For example, Xero has a Demo Company when you login in which you can play around with all the features and you can also practice entering data and then see what affect it has on all the accounts and reports - a great way to learn.